Some attractions in New York City have thrilled visitors for decades. This best way to see the Statue of Liberty (for free!), tours of Rockefeller Center, and walks through Central Park have been a part of many tourists’ bucket lists for generations.
Other attractions are significantly younger, albeit no less loved. Eating (a VERY expensive) Breakfast at Tiffany’s (although that one is currently unavailable as Tiffany’s “reinvents” its store on Fifth Avenue), getting a photo with the Fearless Girl statue, and going to NYC’s only shopping outlet are newer things tourists want to do in NYC (well, when tourists can go back to NYC, after COVID).
Another popular NYC location in just the past few years is Hudson Yards. A 28-acre real estate development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods of Manhattan, it’s a mixed-use tract of land that, by the time it’s completed, will include residences, shops, restaurants and other things for both locals and tourists to enjoy.
One of those “other things” is called Vessel.
From Hudson Yards New York:
The extraordinary centerpiece of Hudson Yards is its spiral staircase, a soaring new landmark meant to be climbed. This interactive artwork was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio as a focal point where people can enjoy new perspectives of the city and one another from different heights, angles and vantage points.
Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs — almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings — the vertical climb offers remarkable views of the city, the river and beyond.
Until the advent of COVID, Vessel was a popular tourist attraction. Tickets were free and the view from the top was said to be great.
Unfortunately, when you build a structure that’s 150 feet high, besides inviting tourists who want good views, it also invites “jumpers.” Tragically, three people have committed suicide by jumping from Vessel between February 2020 and January 2021.
Following the third death, the property’s developer, Related Companies, closed the structure indefinitely while they consulted with experts to figure out how to prevent future suicides.
According to the New York Times, one consideration will be higher barriers. The current safety rails are about chest high, which makes them easy to jump over. There’s some hesitation though since Vessel is a “piece of art” and would alter the artwork. But saner heads may prevail on that point. As the community board’s chairman said, “After three suicides, at what point does the artistic vision take a back seat to safety?”
But for now, Vessel is closed. According to Related Companies, it’s just “temporary.” For how long? No one knows.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary